“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
I couldn’t resist quoting Doyle today thanks to all the Sherlock hoopla going on thanks to the BBC series finally coming back. I’ve been a fan of Sherlock since I was a child–his stories were some of the first mysteries I ever read. But as I got older, I learned more about Doyle himself, and one of the coolest things I learned is that he’s “one of us”.
Doyle famously became involved in spiritualism after a series of deaths, including that of his wife, his son and his brother, among others, left him depressed. That depression turned to seeking, and he went on to write 10 books on spiritualism including The Coming of the Fairies (1922) and The History of Spiritualism (1926). He actually lost a lot of public respect for his beliefs, which he refused to relinquish, even as psychic after psychic he trusted was revealed to be a fraud. This is a very good source, albeit non-sympathetic to spiritualism, by Lock Haven University. I also very much enjoyed reading his original New York Times obituary.
Today’s quote falls very much in the “New Age” camp, I think, even though it’s from the Sherlock Holmes story “A Case of Identity”. Doyle openly despaired of Holmes, killing him off because he was sick of him. Public reaction was so vehement that years later he finally brought him back to life in “The Adventure of the Empty House.” Doyle also said, “If in 100 years I am only known as the man who invented Sherlock Holmes then I will have considered my life a failure.”
I am a huge admirer of Doyle, for more than just Holmes, so perhaps today’s post is a way to show his life was not a failure.
For most people, perhaps Holmes is the only thing Doyle is remembered for, but I’d like to remember one of “our brethren” today. The world is remembering him for Sherlock, but there those of us who think of him in other ways. And today’s quote, while seemingly a throw away line by the great detective is full of wisdom. It’s the little things that are important–kindness, caring, paying attention to the details, listening, observing. The little things in life lead us to great revelations, just as they did for Holmes. And for his creator.
And if Sir Arthur cares to stop by and say hello to any of his fans, I hope they are open enough to listen!